Nothing proves anything
That's the title of a fairly philosophical essay at Counterpunch about why rational people are increasingly frustrated by the current forms of "argumentation". Because facts just don't matter any more, as we have seen repeatedly: DNC cheating, Hillary's emails, Syrian gas attacks, Skripal poisoning, Iran agreement withdrawl, accusations of unprovoked Iranian attacks (in the face of 100 self-admitted Israeli attacks on Iranian forces). The facts just don't matter.
Although the Cliff Notes of a philosophical argument are suspect, I have tried to snip a summary of the author's main argument.
I call this a new paradigm, perhaps modeled on an erroneous rendition of a postmodern mindset in which truth is not a component of reality but what we ourselves say about ourselves, our actions, and the world we inhabit. We inhabit our own narratives, a “worlding” of what we make of anything.
The erroneous part enters when we then assume that “we” is first person singular and that the “I” is somehow free and outside dominating narratives of all stripes, present and past. This misconception and illusion leads to the meme/algorithm that “nothing proves anything to me except what I choose to accept.”
This describes our “post-truth” state. It is a far cry from the view that everything or nothing are both chosen and proven within a context in which choice and proof are always already narrated. By this, I mean that we live within our culture, in the broad sense of culture as Raymond Williams defines it as a whole way life, in an inherited and accreting array of narrations of the world. Our personal narration is shaped and emerges thusly. It’s a process, as we are now fond of saying. The cultural narrative may be a monologue shared by all or a confusion of clashing tweets, vying for supremacy. Nonetheless, such comprises a narrated reality frame within which we struggle to make everything mean something.
Because our president is no more than a kind of representing avatar of the post-truth attitude, a presidency we were not prepared for but for whom we have already prepared the way, and he is a passing presence, I find it more worthwhile to focus on what will remain after he’s gone.
And that is this deep and dark revelation now inhabiting the American mass psyche: “Nothing proves anything.”
- Joseph Natoli, That’s the Problem: Nothing Proves Anything
We now have taken the infamous point that Dick Cheney or one of his ilk made (i.e., we're an empire now; we create reality.) and applied it at the level of individuals. Trump is one example. Hillary Clinton is another. Various liars at the DoJ and FBI add to the roster. They all have complete fantasy stories running, "emperor's new clothes"-level lies. But the corporate media goes right along with all the BS.
You might say that high government officials have been behaving this way since ancient Greece. But, the acquiesence of the Fourth Estate - a Constitutionally protected group that is an integral part of modern democracy - to this naked lying means that the democracy is dead. Good candidates who report the facts don't matter, as we saw with the 2016 version of Bernie.
This reminds me of something I heard about ancient Rome (which may be apochryphal). Romans had skivvy lawyers, just like us moderns. By the end of the emmpire, lawyers with enough money could find someone to lie about anything. Law courts degenerated into bogus witnesses lying at each other. In the end, as the empire crumbled, "trial by combat" was instituted to cut through all the legal BS.
While the story may be apochryphal, the point is that "nothing proves anything" soon degenerates into "someone will lie about anything". And from their, we go down to a Hobbesian nature - nasty, brutish, and short.
I think we are at the edge of a major mental breakdown as a society. People not only don't know the truth; they don't care if they don't. They accept whatever they are told by TPTB: Russian plots, Syrian gas attacks, Iranian strikes. They could replace the corporate media with Goebbels propaganda apparatus and no one would notice the difference. Oh, wait...